Tag Archives: top 10

‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ – My Thoughts

"Gard Gard Gard Gard..."

“Gard Gard Gard Gard…”

So it’s been a little over a week since the long-awaited adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s much-adored ‘The Hobbit’ (Part 1, mind) was released, and I’ve been itching to give my opinions on Peter Jackson’s return to Middle Earth…….

Spoilers ahead, here are the moments of greatness, and in some cases – shiteness of ‘An Unexpected Journey’…

 

What Was Great.

1. Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

A given, right? After the announcement of ‘The Office’ alum’s casting, I never stopped thinking it was nothing short of genius. His performance is laced with an air of naivety, disengaged charm, and an almost sense of self-preservation at the film’s beginning. Freeman captured everything I wanted to see in this character, and the encounter with Gollum and subsequent conclusion of the movie was some of the most entertaining and highly focal points for me.

2. The Design

JHOWEGANDALF

A lasting impression of the LOTR trilogy was the design work inspired by conceptual artists Alan Lee and John Howe. Their astounding and beautiful interpretations of the various locales, architecture and characters of Middle Earth are further realised in ‘The Hobbit’, and will receive a whole new audience of fans. Much to thank those guys for.

3. The Trolls Scene

trolls

Take Freeman’s Bilbo, throw in a few ponies, add a couple of daft, bumbling Kiwi trolls with a hunger for bearded midgets…. And you get one of the most endearing, faithful sequences in the entire movie. Grinned from ear to ear during this one!

4. Gollum and The Return Of Andy Serkis

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How could I do this list without citing Gollum and Andy Serkis in some form…? I’d be lying to myself if I ever did. The show stealer in the LOTR trilogy, and the catalyst of the events that lead up to the epic Jackson saga returns to give us an uncompromising reminder of why he is such a memorable part of modern cinema. It’s weird to think that I will never see Gollum again on-screen in this capacity, so I’ve really taken Serkis’ performance in this film to be somewhat bittersweet. Alas, it’s an amazing reprise from Andy.

5. The Location Shooting

HELLOFROMLOCATION

Since the release of ‘The Return Of The King’, the influx of green screen and blue screen has contributed to the exhausting cookie-cutter popcorn flicks that have littered Hollywood for a decade. However Peter Jackson, his team at Wingnut, New Line and WB persevered to keep the grandiose and breathtaking scale that the LOTR trilogy took on. The location shooting vlogs that were posted through the early parts of last year, gave us an incredible insight into the huge amount of work that is put into such a mammoth task. What we see on-screen are the fruits of that labor. Beautiful stuff.

What Didn’t Cut The Mustard (My opinion…)

1. The Dwarves (SPOILER ALERT)

"Hugh, Pugh, Barney, McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub"

“Hugh, Pugh, Barney, McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub”

Yeah, I know. Old record, old record. Certainly with the amount of characters that ‘The Hobbit’ boasts – it would be pointless to have a gripe about screen time for 13 dwarves. But mine isn’t about that – it’s the execution. Of the Company, with the exception of Thorin (Richard Armitage) – Balin (Ken Stott), Kili (Aidan Turner) and Bofur (Jimmy Nesbitt) are the dwarves with the most screen time/dialogue in the movie. We are also given a slight nod as if to suggest that these characters will be much more prominent and of greater importance in at least the second movie. What actually frustrated me was how forgettable they all were. Next to no characterisation for most of the Company, and when we do see some it’s either far too early in proceedings or just too little too late.

2. Old Bilbo (As Played by Ian Holm)

GRGR4

Love Ian Holm – let me make that perfectly clear. Awesome beyond belief in the LOTR films, and perhaps one of my favourite actors of the entire trilogy. Personally, I really enjoyed seeing him return briefly in his scenes with Frodo (Elijah Wood), which allowed a nice bridging point between the LOTR movies and these new films. But something really bugged me. It’s a small nitpick – but it’s so fucking unbelievably obvious.

It’s the hair.

Ok, yeah – “What the fuck, Scott? Get over it…” – Well I fucking can’t, ok?

It’s been 12 years since we last saw old Bilbo in Bag End. So Weta digital have used their magic to ‘de-age’ the veteran act0r to make him look more similar to his younger self. The hairpiece however, is not Holm’s own hair we can easily assume. So why did they do this….?

Yeah, really... I'm moaning about this

Yeah, really… I’m moaning about this

I’m a big continuity buff, and a confessed moaner. But come on, really? The hair is completely different. The reference points are in the DVD cabinets of nearly every single person that worked on the movie!

On the left, a still of ‘Fellowship’, the hair is bushy, almost feathered, also fairly thick and at cheek length. On the right hand side, we see Bilbo as he appears in ‘The Hobbit’. The hair is thinner, lank and also nearly at CHIN length. Bilbo’s appearance in the new movie is one that precedes events in ‘An Unexpected Journey’ – but also takes place in the same time line period as the beginning of ‘Fellowship’… e.g THAT PICTURE ON THE LEFT. Come on, now. It’s a silly mistake that shouldn’t have been made. It’s absolutely glaring.

Meh…. Next….

3. The Seemingly Non-existent Use of Human Actors for Goblins/Orcs/Trolls/Whatever

Looks stoopid

Looks stoopid

I was excited to see more of the amazing work from Weta’s visual effects and makeup department. But sadly, we weren’t so lucky this time around. The creatures that are featured in the movie are beautifully realised. However it just didn’t have that same magic as having real actors in the performance. It didn’t really tarnish the film on an enjoyment scale, rather just made me question whether Jackson is heading down the same dark path as another certain filmmaker did a long, long time ago.

4. The Film’s Opening Hour

"WE ARE LAUGHING!"

“WE ARE LAUGHING!”

‘An Unexpected Journey’ has a run time which may agitate and even frustrate some theatre-goers. But personally, I didn’t mind it at all. But the first adventure of Bilbo and the Dwarves has such a slow build up, it really did test my patience for the first 45 to 60 minutes. In particular the meeting at Bilbo’s house. Christ… such… a…. fucking…. drag…. Leave already!

5. The Smaug Money Shot

rg

After a successful third act. I really was looking forward to finally getting a glimpse of the dragon, Smaug in all his hellish glory. This was not the case.

With the extreme lengths that Weta went to prevent us viewing folk from seeing the antagonist during the (seriously too long) prologue, I was convinced that we’d get to see him rolling around in his gold like a pig in shit. What we got was an eyeball…. Haha, a great eye. Maybe that was a little joke on their part. Well, you got us. Fuck you anyway :-)

—————————————————————–

Let’s just be clear on one thing…. I LOVED this movie. Thank you to everyone that worked on it!


Best & Worst Of 2012

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No filler. Let’s do this.

Here are my Top 10 Worst films (viewed by me) released in the United Kingdom over the last 12 months. My review of the movies (if applicable) can be found at the link after the title/director

 

1. ‘Resident Evil: Retribution’ (Paul W.S. Anderson) http://boxd.it/uIU3

2. ‘Friends With Kids’ (Jennifer Westfeldt) http://boxd.it/j4Hh

3. ‘Twilight – Breaking Dawn Part 2′ (Bill Condon)

4. ‘Hotel Transylvania’ (Genndy Tartakovsky) http://boxd.it/uxt1

5. ‘The Five-Year Engagement’ (Nicholas Stoller) http://boxd.it/j4FP

6. ‘Prometheus’ (Ridley Scott)

7. ‘A Thousand Words’ (Brian Robbins)

8. ‘Snow White & The Huntsman’ (Rupert Sanders)

9. ‘Paranormal Activity 4′ (Henry Joost/Ariel Schulman)

10. ‘Dark Shadows’ (Tim Burton) http://boxd.it/ebrb

 

With the proverbial turds flushed down the commode. Here are my favourites :-)

Celluloidical’s Top 10 Films Of 2012

1. ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ (Wes Anderson) http://boxd.it/eMBH

2. ‘The Avengers’ (Joss Whedon) http://boxd.it/btpr

3. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (Christopher Nolan) http://boxd.it/jSSp

4. ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ (Peter Jackson) http://boxd.it/BvJZ

5. ‘Looper’ (Rian Johnson)

6. ‘Dredd’ (Pete Travis) http://boxd.it/rLKz

7 ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ (David O.Russell)

8. ‘End Of Watch’ (David Ayer) http://boxd.it/zzsT

9. ‘Skyfall’ (Sam Mendes) http://bit.ly/ZLxnIf

10. ‘Chronicle’ (Josh Trank)


Nolan Month – ‘My Top 10 Best Scenes’

"I'm...so...ronery"

Whether it be visually compelling to behold, or thematically intense – Christopher Nolan has proven to be artistically in touch with his craft. With an already stellar, though small catalogue of films to his name, there are a host of memorable scenes in all. Some of which have been etched permanently in the minds of film buffs… These are the most prominent in mine.

10. The Telephone Confession (Insomnia – 2002)

This scene stood-out for me in then entire film. There’s no score in the background and still remains gripping. It fully relies on the dialogue between the killer, Finch (Robin Williams) and Detective Dormer (Al Pacino). As Williams coldly retraces the events of his killing.

09. “The Power of Fear” (Batman Begins – 2005)

A scene I’ve once before cited as a personal favourite. In Nolan’s groundbreaking foray into comic book lore - A lost Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) confronts mob boss Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson), who isn’t going to budge without a fight. Though it is a flashback – it is a pivotal scene that sets in motion Bruce’s desire to re-assess his life.

08. “Are you watching closely?” (The Prestige – 2006)

By no means do I regard this scene highly by its aesthetics, but it is a welcome departure from the film’s more opaque hue.

07. “How can I heal?” (Memento – 2000)

Leonard (Guy Pearce) reflects on the loss of his wife in a stark realisation of how time can never heal his pain. Unsettling, yet beautiful.

06. Revolving Corridor (Inception – 2010)

Visually outstanding. On Yusuf’s dream level, their van descends down a hill after being chased off the road by Fischer’s projections. While on the next – Arthur’s dream, he (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) goes toe to toe with a dream thug in a corridor that begins to revolve – accentuating the effects of the car-roll. It’s simple logic, but damn fucking effective. It’s absolutely amazing how they pulled this off so convincingly well.

05.  Dent’s Last Stand (The Dark Knight – 2008)

Nolan caps off his first Bat-sequel with this intense stand-off between the fallen Harvey Dent, Jim Gordon and Batman. This one simply speaks for itself…

4. Pen & Paper Handy (Memento – 2000)

Memento has been probably my least favourite Nolan film for some time. Its complex narrative and some areas of direction made it extremely difficult for me to enjoy the film, though the performances are nothing short of brilliant. In this scene, considered by many to be the best of the entire film. Leonard’s desperation is a great representation of his condition, its effects and how they are slowly feeding into a crippling paranoia. As evident through one of many internal monologues.

03. Dream Construction 101 (Inception – 2010)

Dom Cobb (Leo Di Caprio) introduces Ariadne (Ellen Page) to the world of shared dreaming…

02. The Interrogation (The Dark Knight – 2008)

Done to death. But it’s a scene that will live with me forever. Tense, dramatic, even funny at times. Direction from Nolan and cinematography by Wally Pfister really at its best.

01. ‘The Prestige’ (The Prestige – 2006)

The big reveal… The riddle is finally solved, as Christian Bale’s Borden proudly unravels the mystery that structured the entire movie - in conjunction with a montage recapping his lifelong devotion to his greatest illusion. While a soon to be mortally wounded Angier (Hugh Jackman), recoils, stunned. Fucking awesome.


Top 20 Batman-On-Film Moments

I don’t wanna cause a Bat-overload on here – as my last review was Batman Returns. However in light of the last 24 hours on Twitter, and the reveal of a new promotional image for the final film in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises – I thought I’d use this Sunday afternoon to countdown my top 20 Batman moments on film to date…. Just to ease whatever tension :-)

20. Rachel Dawes using the tazer on Scarecrow (Batman Begins)

Late in the movie, Dr Jonathan Crane (Cillian Murphy) is busted out of Arkham Asylum by his ‘hired goons’, and goes to town on horseback. Only to be met by Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes) and a nice dose of voltage to the kisser… Ouch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19. “What A Day…” (Batman)

Presumed dead after the incident at the chemical plant, Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson), now ‘The Joker’, visits his old boss, Grissom (Jack Palance) – seeking out retribution

18. Catwoman’s Origin (Batman Returns)

After being murdered by boss Max Shreck – Timid secretary, Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer) gets a taste for milk as she arrives back at her home after being revived by numerous stray cats. Never really ‘got’ the whole idea of this, but Tim Burton and the insatiable taste for the supernatural go hand in hand. Anyway, unnerving scene ahead

17. Playing The Odds (The Dark Knight)

Commissioner Loeb’s memorial service implodes into chaos, leading to District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) apprehending one of Joker’s henchmen and showing a certain side of his personality that would eventually dominate him. Tension by the barrel and an impressive performance by Eckhart.

16. Power (Batman Begins)

Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) returns from Princeton University and confronts mob boss Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson), proving to be the catalyst for Bruce’s desire to seek out vengeance on organised crime in Gotham. A pivotal plot point in the entire film and a great scene directed by Christopher Nolan.

15. “Never rub another man’s rhubarb!” (Batman)

Funny shit! The Joker deals with a crazed Bruce Wayne the only way The Joker can…

14. Carrey’s Riddler (Batman Forever)

Batman Forever is without a doubt one of the more disappointing films in the series. But I’ll be honest… I loved Jim Carrey as The Riddler. Sure he’s campy as hell and it probably didn’t please the fanboys. But I love Carrey and he does what he does best here. There you go, shoot me if you wish. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJit_tLOV7E&feature=related

13. The Will To Act (Batman Begins)

Liam Neeson’s Ra’s Al Ghul begins his training for Bruce in the mountains. Using the art of ninja and methodically delving into Bruce’s dark past. A superbly edited sequence.

12. Robin Revealed (Batman Forever)

Again, a bit of a guilty pleasure. Remembering my favourite character, Robin, from the amazing Batman: The Animated Series, I couldn’t wait to finally see Robin in the flesh on the big screen. Sure, it’s a cheese worthy performance looking back – but the scene where Dick Grayson (Chris O’Donnell) in costume descends the flight of stairs into the Batcave really was one of the high points of my childhood.

11. “I Am The Batman” (The Dark Knight)

Harvey Dent makes the ultimate sacrifice in light of The Joker’s continual reign of terror. Another stellar scene showcasing the talented Aaron Eckhart

10. Ohhh, what a world! (Batman)

No secret that Jack Nicholson portrayed The Joker to sheer delightfully wicked perfection in Tim Burton’s 1989 film. As Kim Basinger throws water in the face of Napier after he torments her, he retaliates in the most appropriate way possible… :-)

09. No Need To Thank Him (Batman Begins)

After successfully defeating Ra’s Al Ghul and The League Of Shadows, Batman visits Jim Gordon – where the newly promoted Lieutenant voices his fear of escalation in the criminal world. But Batman declares they will find a way, working together. As Gordon produces the calling card of a certain Clown Prince of Crime – we are left in anticipation of what Mr Nolan has in store for us.

08. The Bat Vs The Cat (Batman Returns)

Batman (Michael Keaton) nearly gets his ass handed to him… Then he gets molested… Then he gets nailpoked, go figure.

07. Bank Heist (The Dark Knight)

Filmed in IMAX, Nolan’s prologue to the greatest superhero movie ever gives us a brief taste of things to come. And of course introduces us to Heath Ledger in a defining performance as The Joker.

06. Flass Attack (Batman Begins)

Batman continues his relentless assault on the mob, as well as bent cops. After robbing a food vendor, Detective Flass gets his just desserts as The Dark Knight terrifyingly demands for information. A scene that shows the ‘fear’ that Bruce wants to instil in his enemies.

05. Harvey Two-Face (The Dark Knight)

Another brilliant scene from Nolan’s sequel. While recovering in hospital after the warehouse explosion – Harvey Dent is visited by Gordon, who is attempting to uncover the trace of events. The new Commish is awkward and uneasy in his questioning, and Harvey doesn’t take the bait. Before he finally reveals his horrific injuries to Gordon and vowing vengeance against him. Two Face is born.

04. Starting Tonight (The Dark Knight)

Heath Ledger purely inhabits and revels in his role as The Joker. This scene, filmed on a handheld camera, shows our favourite clown with one of Batman’s copycats tied up and beaten – while Joker threatens Gotham and its citizens on the news. Ledger’s knack to deliver such contrasting and vivid elements to his performances is simply mind-blowing.

03. “Gotham needs its true hero” (The Dark Knight)

The final scene from the film. Jim Gordon, reeling over the murders committed by Harvey Dent and the subsequent ramifications, is taken aback when Batman declares the blame be put upon him. As Harvey must remain a beacon of hope for the city – even in death. While Bats rides off, Gordon calls in a squad to pursue the Batman. Gordon Jr asks his father why he has to run from the police… and Gary Oldman then delivers a closing monologue that has become one of my favourite quotes of the last decade. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psSGVhTd0i8

02. Punchline (Batman)

Batman finally gets his hands on The Joker, who is still insistent on laughing in the face of adversity – even to the end. Jack Nicholson truly at his finest…

01. The Interrogation (The Dark Knight)

Of course, what else would it be? A dazzling performance from Heath Ledger and Christian Bale. It’s relentless and intense as can be as Batman nearly reaches breaking point through The Joker’s provocation and constant taunts . A scene that made Ledger’s posthumous Oscar a thoroughly deserved one.


My Top 10 Film ‘Heroes’

So the post scheduled, titled ‘Wasted Time’; an insight into the misuse of actors/actresses in films, has been unceremoniously delayed. I’m actually still researching through my movie library for reliable material – hope to get it a more rounded draft finished by the weekend. My review of ‘An Idiot Abroad’ will come foward to tomorrow.

Due to some moderate popularity of yesterday’s post, this is a rundown of my favourite heroes in cinema.

10. Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) – ‘The Lord Of The Rings’

9.  (Joint) Bud White (Russell Crowe) and Ed Exley (Guy Pearce) – ‘L.A Confidential’

8. Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) – ‘Thank You For Smoking’

7. Frank Serpico (Al Pacino) – ‘Serpico’

6. Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) – ‘Taxi Driver’

5. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) – ‘Star Wars IV-VI’

4. Detective Jimmy Doyle (Gene Hackman) – ‘The French Connection’

3. Dr. Henry ‘Indiana’ Jones (Harrison Ford) – ‘Indiana Jones I-IV’

2. Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) – ‘Back To The Future Trilogy’

1. Jeff ‘The Dude’ Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) – ‘The Big Lebowski’


My Top 10 Film ‘Villains’

Since I exhausted my creative writing life-force last night. I will argue my case through means of embedded YouTube video!

10. Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) - ‘The Matrix Trilogy’

9. Bella (Kristen Stewart) – ‘Twilight Saga’

8. Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermey) – ‘Full Metal Jacket’

7. Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) – ‘Star Wars Saga’

6. T-1000 (Robert Patrick) – ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’

5. Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) – ‘American Psycho’

4. The Joker (Heath Ledger) – ‘The Dark Knight’

3. The Nihilists (Peter Stormare, Torsten Voges, and Flea) – ‘The Big Lebowski’

2. Harry Waters (Ralph Fiennes) – ‘In Bruges’

1. Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) – ‘Inglourious Basterds’


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